Philipp Contag-Lada has been working as a media artist for over 20 years at numerous theaters and galleries throughout Europe and teaches media art at several universities.
He has won several awards for his technical and aesthetic innovations. He also advises theaters on setting up departments dealing with video and multimedia.
Starting point: From the stage into the online world
In the current situation, countless streaming offers are emerging in which theater and dance are attracting attention. However, these are mostly only filmed stage events, sometimes as TV versions of the pieces, which, even with high quality, leave viewers longing and aching for the live experience. At the same time, many examples show that there is a high potential for further development and innovation in these artistic and media productions, e.g. in choreographies developed for new recording techniques, specific ways of narrating and new perspectives on stage events, or productions and forms of presentation created especially for the online world.
From local audience to networked dance community
Subscriber audiences in theaters are getting older. Young audiences are hardly to be won over for the existing subscription offers. However, a combination of live dance performances and online offers could offer a perspective. Theaters' online offerings appeal to young audiences on other platforms, and the online experience of dance arouses interest in live offerings - in one's own city or in tourist destinations.
Streaming and games applications can reach new target groups and audiences for dance. In particular, young users, for whom the Internet is not only media consumption, but also a creative world of games, a chat room and a social network, are addressed.
As an art form without a language barrier, dance reaches an international audience, in Europe as well as - especially at present - in the Asian and American regions.
Contemporary dance in the context of dance history
Unlike in the visual arts, the audience experiences dance only at the moment of performance. In many cases, context and artistic references to other works are thus missing, as they are often of great importance in the development of dance from classical to modern to contemporary dance. For a digital presence, therefore, the co-presence of current audiovisual documents of dance with documents from dance development can be of great benefit to the audience.
This also gives the audience a window into the archives of dance and dance development, the archives become co-creators of dance's digital presence, and digital technologies lead to new methods of archiving.
We want to make dance a virtual and immersive experience, because it offers people - due to its diverse staging possibilities - the ideal conditions to immerse themselves in a virtual reality.
Coordinated in the umbrella organization Tanz Deutschland and in cooperation with, among others, the German Dance Film Institute, dance ensembles and production houses, we pursue in this approach the concept of a modular and successively growing network of German ballet ensembles and dance theaters that make medial dance productions and live performances from their venues available via stream. In addition, we want to broaden the focus and enrich the offering with on-demand and other live content, such as accompanying documentaries, behind-the-scenes looks at theater operations, or exclusive insights into the working methods of artists and dance professionals, thus creating a distinctive media art experience.
In particular, the presentations of current dance are to be placed in the context of dance development, i.e. audiovisual, photographic and textual documents of dance are to form a context for the current works. Therefore, dance archives have a special role to play in the development of the offer. Together with the Association of German Dance Archives, the editorial and legal basis for the public presentation of the material is also to be created.
It is to be examined whether other existing content - already existing dance film productions, privately produced or from public broadcasters - can also be integrated.
The Tanz Digital project is the start of long-term work on the media presentation of dance. The focus of the current project is on the testing and development of content (medial dance productions) and the basic work for editing, legal clarifications, user and producer communities.
In the course of the project, further financing possibilities are to be developed.
In the tendering phase, artistic/media productions (as artistic adaptations for recording or transfer to digital space) are to be funded. The aim is also to pass on the experience of artists and producers to dance ensembles, theaters and independent dance professionals in workshops and creative mediation formats.
Alexandra Georgieva has been Ballet Director of the Friedrichstadt-Palast Berlin since 2018. She received her training at the Sofia State Ballet and Choreography School, graduating as a state-certified stage dancer in 1985. After an internship at the State Opera Sofia and an engagement at the State Musical Theater there, she joined the Palast in Berlin as a dancer in 1990 and took on her first solo role after only six months. She completed her dance pedagogical training while working.
In 2008 she ended her career as a dancer and took over the direction of the worldwide unique ballet ensemble. She is also a volunteer for the German Dance Award, the Dell'Era Memorial Foundation and the Federal German Ballet and Dance Theater Directors' Conference, among others.
Ina worked as a producer, production manager and director in the film, television and animation industry during and after her studies at Babelsberg Film University. She then worked for several years in the media team of the Investitionsbank des Landes Brandenburg (ILB). Most recently, Ina worked as a consultant in the new media funding division for Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg. She was responsible for the funding programs "Innovative Audiovisual Content" (funding of games, VR and AR projects) and "Location Measures" (events). At game, Ina is Maren's contact person for all questions regarding games funding and supports the regional representatives in their work.
Since 2016, Florian Jenett has been Professor of Media Informatics in the Department of Design at Mainz University of Applied Sciences. He is co-founder of the exhibition and production platform basis e.V., Frankfurt, and has worked for many years on Processing, an international open source project for creative work with programming code. Jenett is also a member of NODE - Verein zur Förderung digitaler Kultur. Since 2010, he has been conducting research for Motion Bank, which he has co-directed with Scott deLahunta since 2014 and which has been based at Mainz University of Applied Sciences since 2017.
Helge Letonja is a choreographer, festival and project developer, dance producer, organizer, and lecturer, and has been the artistic director and managing director of steptext dance project Bremen for over 20 years. After his training in classical and contemporary dance, his international career as a dancer took him to the Bremen Tanztheater with Susanne Linke, among others. There he founded steptext in 1996 as a freelance company and has since choreographed around 40 dance pieces presented in Germany and abroad. In 2003 he was one of the concept developers and founders of the Schwankhalle Bremen. He is involved in a variety of institutional as well as artistic collaborations for the regional and international development of dance, opening it up as a mediator of cultural diversity, social participation, interdisciplinary art and research.
Claudia Rosiny has been responsible for the performing arts at the Federal Office of Culture, Bern, since 2021, previously responsible for dance and theater from 2012. In addition, she teaches and publishes, among others: Dance Film, Intermedial Relations between Media History and Modern Dance Aesthetics, Bielefeld: transcript 2013, Contemporary Dance. Körper, Konzepte, Kulturen, Bielefeld: transcript 2007. She studied theater, film and television studies in Cologne and Amsterdam and received her PhD from the University of Bern with a thesis on video dance. She directed the Berner Tanztage from 1991 to 2007 and established a forum for media and design at the Kornhaus Bern from 1998 to 2007. After a fellowship stay in New York City in 2008-2009, she was a consultant and project manager at the Swiss Dance Archive, now SAPA (Swiss Archive of the Performing Arts), from 2009 to 2012.
Dieter Schneider worked as a radio editor, author and producer for ZDF, 3sat and ARTE. From 2012 to 2017 he headed the editorial department Theater, Pop, Event/ARTE at ZDF, from 2017 the editorial department Culture/Music/ARTE at ZDF, since 2020 as deputy head.